So Ulfius and Brastias go back to London, Arthur asks how it went, they say it went well and Bors and Ban are coming, Arthur asks when, and Ulfius and Brastias say November.
I don’t get the chronology here at all and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Arthur gets crowned at Pentecost, which is around the first of June give or take a few weeks. Then at either the same Pentecost or the next one or possibly the one after that he meets up with Team Lot & Mister 100, which takes an unknown amount of time, and then he sends his knights to get help, and then the help is coming at the start of November (All Hallowmass is what Malory says specifically, and I assume that’s either All Saint’s Day or All Souls Day, so the first or second of November). But Arthur calls this good news, so, I guess November is a reasonable time for Ban and Bors to show up and not many months too late.
Anyway, November comes, and Ban and Bors come with it. They bring a few hundred knights, and there’s another big party with Sir Kay running the catering, and it’s such a big deal that he gets two knights to assist, Sir Lucas and Sir Griftlet. And everyone was dressed up very nice, with Arthur, Ban, Bors, the Archbishop of Canterbury (who’s still hanging around) and Sir Ector (who is after all Arthur’s foster father) hanging out in a special gold VIP area.
So this party, this big party to celebrate Ban and Bors showing up with their hundreds of knights, it is besides an eating-and-drinking party it is a tournament party, where everyone does jousts and mock combat. Arthur divides everyone up into two teams, with the French and Benwick knights on one team and his own knights on the other.
First bout: Sir Kay’s assistant caterer Sir Griftlet versus a French, or possibly Benwick, knight name of Sir Ladinas. It does not go well for Griftlet, he goes down boom and just lies there, which makes everyone worry that he’s dead and that things have thus gone quite poorly for the beginning of the tournament. Sir Kay’s other assistant caterer, Sir Lucas, goes and helps Griftlet off the field and gives him some orange slices and a new horse, and then the two of them start doing some two-on-two fighting with pairs of Continentals, boom boom boom, scoring many points and kicking tremendous amounts of ass. Also Sir Kay puts together a six-man team that wallops all the other six-man teams, so, don’t mess with the caterers, everyone cheer for the caterers, they’re the heroes of the hour.
Sir Placidas, another knight, takes Kay on one-on-one and beats him down, which causes Griftlet to jump into the ring and… this is starting to sound like a pro wrestling match (starting to?). Tensions get high, the refs step in and separate everyone, they all get a good meal and some drink and Arthur and Ban and Bors give the caterers a trophy.
After the tournament is adjourned, Arthur has a long sit-down with Ban and Bors and their brother Gwenbaus… did I not mention that Ban and Bors were brothers? And that they have a third brother who isn’t king of anywhere? Neither did Malory. Anyway, sit-down. Ban and Bors and Gwenbaus are there, and of course Arthur’s two best knights at the time Ulfius and Brastias, and Merlin because you can’t have a sit-down without Merlin.
The seven of them argue long into the night about how to deal with Team Lot & Mister 100, and they go to bed and get up and argue more and then they go to church and then they argue more and then they have lunch and they argue more and finally they’re all argued out and decide to go with Merlin’s plan.
I assume it’s Merlin’s plan. All plans are Merlin’s plans.
Plan is, Merlin takes King Ban’s signet ring and goes back to Benwick with Sir Gracian and Sir Placidas, and make a big deal of fortifying defenses against King Claudas, and while Gracian and Placidas are settling in to repel any siege of Benwick that Claudas mounts, Merlin comes back over the sea with the bulk of Bors’s and Ban’s men, the assembled combined army of France and Benwick, which is ten thousand men, which is a substantially bigger number of men than has been tossed around in this story up to this point. Big pile of dudes.
Merlin takes this sizable army over the Channel to Dover, secretly. He marches them, secretly, across England and puts themt up, secretly, in Bedegraine, which is a forested valley where they hide. Secretly.
Merlin then rides back to Arthur, Bors, and Ban, and tells them that it’s all set up, and Arthur and the brothers marvel at how fast it happened, and Merlin is like, hey, I’m magic, I can do that.
Arthur gets all his men together, and there’s even more of them, twenty thousand guys, and he sets them up running patrols along the edge of his territory, the edge of which is still the river Trent, and at this point Arthur and his buddies are all come at me bro with regards to Team Lot & Mister 100.